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Ohio Men's Basketball's Season Ends With 2018 MAC Tournament First Round Loss At Miami

Ohio Men's Basketball's Season Ends With 2018 MAC Tournament First Round Loss At Miami

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By Mike Ashcraft
OhioBobcats.com

Box Score (PDF)

OXFORD, Ohio -- The No. 10-seeded Ohio men's basketball team (14-17) saw its season end with a 68-55 loss to No. 7-seeded Miami (16-16) in the 2018 Mid-American Conference Tournament First Round presented by VisitMyrtleBeach.com on Monday (March 5) at Millett Hall.

The Bobcats never recovered from a first half that saw them fall behind by as many as 17 points and shoot just 24.2 percent (8-of-33) from the floor -- including just 8.3 percent (1-of-12) from beyond the arc. The RedHawks shot 48.1 percent (13-of-27) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes en route to building a 68-55 halftime advantage.

Ohio outscored Miami in the second half, though, and cut its deficit down to six with just under nine minutes left. Unfortunately, that's as close as the Bobcats got as the RedHawks outscored them by an 18-10 count over the final 8:20.

"The one takeaway I'll take is that we're a tough minded and physical group," said fourth-year head coach Saul Phillips. "For the guys who return, that's something to build on. We ended up having to make a lot of reactionary moves this season because of roster limitations, and that's no way to live. First order of business is to get everybody healthy."

In his final game as a Bobcat, senior guard Mike Laster (Detroit, Mich.) led Ohio with 16 points off of 5-of-11 shooting from the floor -- including a pair of three-pointers -- and 4-of-6 shooting from the free throw line. He finished in double figures for the 23rd time this year, bringing his career total to 31. Laster also grabbed two rebounds in 38 minutes. Junior forward Doug Taylor (Columbus, Ohio) made six of his eight attempts from the floor en route to 13 points, marking the 10th time this year he has finished in double figures -- including each of the last six games. He also pulled down eight boards and added an assist in 25 minutes of action. Redshirt sophomore guard James Gollon (Stevens Point, Wis.) made five field goals -- including two triples -- to finish with 12 points, marking the seventh time in the last 10 games he has finished in double figures and 10th time this season. He also logged a game-high four steals to set a new career high in addition to recording three rebounds. Freshman guard Teyvion Kirk (Joliet, Ill.) posted 11 points to finish in double figures for a team-high 28th time this year -- including in 22 of the final 23 games. The 2018 MAC All-Freshman Team pick also notched a team-high nine rebounds, two assists and a steal over 32 minutes before fouling out.

Junior guard Darrian Ringo led the way for Miami with a game-high 21 points, shooting 6-of-10 from the floor with a pair of treys and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe. He also posted three rebounds, tallied a team-high three assists and three steals and had a block in 33 minutes. Freshman guard Nike Sibande went 5-of-10 from the field with two three-pointers en route to 13 points. He nearly achieved a double-double with a team-high nine boards over 33 minutes of action. Senior forward Logan McLane provided 10 points off of 5-of-9 shooting and blocked a game-high four shots in 30 minutes off of the bench. He also chipped in four rebounds and an assist.

The Bobcats got out to a quick start, scoring the game's first five points off of a three by Gollon and a dunk by Taylor. Ohio's lead was short lived, however, as Miami responded with a 19-2 run that saw the Bobcats go scoreless for over eight minutes. A dunk off of a fastbreak steal by Gollon and a jumper by Laster helped Ohio trim its deficit down to seven at 19-12 with just over seven minutes to go, but the RedHawks outscored the Bobcats by a 14-6 count over the final 6:48 of the half. Ringo scored 13 of his 21 points over the opening 20 minutes, going 5-of-6 with two three-pointers. In addition to going into halftime down 15, the Bobcats lost the services of junior guard Jordan Dartis (Newark, Ohio) for the rest of the game when he suffered an injury late in the first half.

Miami's lead swelled to 17 points again less than a minute into the second half when freshman guard Jalen Adaway made a pair of free throws. Ohio did not quit, though, and went on a 26-15 run to make it a six-point game with just under nine minutes to play. Seven points -- including a dunk -- by Taylor, and-one baskets by Kirk and junior guard/forward Gavin Block (Lincoln, Ill.) and three-pointers by Gollon and Laster highlighted Ohio's rally. That's as close as Ohio got, though, as McLane scored six-straight points and freshman guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands hit a three with just over two minutes remaining to seal the win for the RedHawks.

Monday's contest marked the final games at Ohio for Laster, senior guard Antonio Bisutti (Dublin, Ohio), senior forward Sam Frayer (Cincinnati, Ohio) and graduate forward Kevin Mickle (Brooklyn, N.Y.).

"It wasn't the outcome that we wanted, but I'm just thankful that we all made it as close to one piece as possible through the season with our injuries," said Laster. "I would compare it to playing cards and you just being dealt a bad hand. And, really, just doing what you can and almost winning, actually. And actually not doing as bad as you thought you would once we got our hand. We just played our cards."

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